Our stomachs and minds are closely related; if you’re in constant “fight or flight” mode due to anxiety, your body is unable to relax and digest properly.
Among the numerous health benefits of yoga, one is yoga for digestion. Common stomach problems include constipation, stomach pain, gas, acid reflux and acidity. Yoga can help you get relief from these conditions.
Consuming a wholefoods diet, free of intolerants, processed sugars and junk food can greatly improve your digestive health. Incorporating yoga into the routine will provide even more help.
1. Marjaryasana Bitilasana
Also known as Cow/Cat Pose.
You begin this yoga position on all fours. Simply rotate your spine up and down, rounding the back (the cat) and arching it (the cow) as you breathe. As you alternate between cat and cow stretches, you’ll lengthen and compress the intestines.
This position massages the internal organs--particularly the stomach and intestines--which can help ease the pain and bloating from a particularly heavy meal or other intestinal issues.
2. Trikonasana (and Parivrtta Trikonasana)
Also known as Triangle Forward Fold or Extended Triangle Pose.
Begin with your right foot placed in front of your body, with the other foot rotated outward about 45 degrees. Stretch out both arms and put the right arm on the ground beside your foot, raising your left arm overhead.
Twist the torso to the left and breathe. Then twist your torso to the right and switch the positions of your arms (this is known as Parivrtta Trikonasana) before repeating this pose with the opposite foot.
This pose is incredibly healing for the digestive system. Apart from toning your muscles and improving flexibility, this asana aids in relieving acid build up, gastritis, flatulence and indigestion.
This pose is great for individuals suffering from IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome.
3. Setu Bandha Saravangasana
Also known as Bridge Pose.
This inversion begins by you lying flat on your mat. Bend your knees in towards your body, bring your feet in so that they are flat on the ground, hip distance apart. Tighten your glutes and your core and begin to lift your bottom off the floor, as if your belly button is to touch the ceiling. Hold for ten deep breaths, gently lower down by rolling your spine towards the floor and repeat.
This asana is wonderful for compressing the digestive organs. Also this pose helps to move fresh blood to the heart.
4. Ardha Pawamuktasana
Also known as Wind Removing Pose or The Half Gas Relief Pose.
Begin lying flat on your mat with your legs extended outward and your arms at your sides. Bring your right knee in towards your chest and wrap your hands around your thigh to hold it in place. Take a few deep breaths (you can even pulse your leg slowly for a little extra release) and then try it out with the left leg.
This pose is wonderful for releasing gas from the abdomen. By massaging the intestinal organs and placing pressure on the colon, this asana aid in reducing distention and digestive discomfort.
5.Adho Mukha Svanasana
Also known as Downward Facing Dog
Begin in a plank pose and slowly bring your weight back towards your feet. Straighten your arms and create an upside-down “V,” broadening your back and massaging your intestines as you breathe. Feel free to rock back and forth or side to side a bit, too.
By gently stimulating the nervous system it brings about relaxation and awareness. Our nervous system works hand in hand with our digestive system. This asana is a wonderful pose for restoring energy, strengthing and stretching leg muscles as well as feet. It helps reduce stiffness and it calms the mind.
6. Uttana Shishosana
Also known as Extended Puppy Pose or Child’s Pose.
A cross between the child’s pose and downward facing dog.
Begin this asana on all fours. Keeping your feet hip distance apart, begin to walk your arms out in front of you. Allow your head and chest to rest on the floor, breath in deeply. Hold this poses for a minute and repeat until you feel ease.
It compresses the abdomen and massages the internal organs, stimulating digestion and hopefully helping you feel better soon.
Also known as Camel Pose.
Begin this backbend asana by kneeling on the floor, keeping knees and feet together, arms at your sides. Breathing deeply, place your hands on your pelvis or your buttocks with your fingers pointing downwards. Pushing your thighs forward begin to gently bend your back, bringing your gaze to the ceiling. Bringing your shoulders back, stretch one arm at a time towards your feet, having your hands grip your heels or ankles.
Pressing down on your feet, lift your sternum upwards, allowing your head to gently fall back, but not too much. Spend ten breaths in this pose, gently coming out. This is done by reducing the hold on your feet and slowly raising your torso upwards, slowly lifting your head in the process. As you come up you can place your hands on your pelvis or lower back to provide extra support in coming out of the pose.
Ease digestional discomfort by opening up the torso with this amazing stretch. Camel pose expands the abdominal area and can be particularly beneficial in aiding elimination if you’re suffering from constipation.
8. Supta Matsyendrasana
Also known as a supine twist.
This asana begins with you lying flat on your back, legs extended, with your arms at your sides. After a few deep breaths when you feel relaxed, hug your right knee towards your chest. Place your left hand upon your right knee and extend your right arm to the side of your body.
Use your left hand to pull your right knee towards the left side of your body, getting it as close to the floor as you can. Bring your gaze towards your extended right hand. Hold this position for 10 deep breaths, release your knee gently. Repeat with your left leg, on the opposite side.
This asana is perfect to do after Ardha Pawamuktasana. Like many of the digestion yoga poses we’ve discussed, this position puts pressure on the digestive organs, helping to relieve bloating, cramping, and general discomfort.